Rieslingfreak was established in 2009. John Hughes grew up on a family vineyard in the Clare Valley, South Australia, and has been driven by the versatility
of the Riesling grape. His passion for Riesling was noted in his university days, where he always had a bottle or two of Riesling to share, and soon became known as the “Riesling Freak”. Polish Hill River is a sub region of Clare, situated between Sevenhill and Mintaro. It is one of the iconic Riesling regions in Clare Valley. The Polish Hill River Vineyard was acquired by Rob and Lyn Jaeschke in 2010, and is known locally as the Hill River Vineyard. With Max Schubert (of Penfolds fame) planting the first vines on the property in 1981, the vineyard was destined for big things. The vineyard is situated approximately 3 miles south-east of the Clare township. This is John’s premium Riesling from the Clare Valley. The soil contains a heap of stone and slate, making these Rieslings very minerally, slate, refined and polished.
No.2 is a dry style of Riesling, showcasing many of the refinements typical of the Polish Hill River region. The limestone and shale rock soil profile are reflected in the wine with intense mineral and slate notes, along with underlying fresh citrus characters (predominantly lemon and grapefruit). The mineral component of this wine acts like a conveyer belt, right across the palate, upon which this delightful, nervous energy and flavor spectrum seems to travel. Wines from this region can often be consumed upon release, or cellared for many years. This particular Riesling drinks well now, but will reward 10+ years of aging.
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97 pts James Halliday
The vineyard is planted on grey brown loam, over sandy limestone and shale rock. Planted at 460m above sea level the average rainfall is 625mm. 2020 was the driest year on record. Right up until the end of December, we had high temperatures, in the 40’s. Just hot and dry! In January, temps cooled down considerably until harvest. Water was scarce – there was no rain for months – until Jan 31 when they had over 60mm in a day, setting up the grapes nicely for harvest. Crop levels were way down, but the cool change in weather allowed the grapes to ripen slowly, holding great natural acidity, right up to harvest. The harvest decisions for the 2020 vintage were complicated. Summer was hot, all through December, followed by a very cool January. This was perfect for the ripening of the grapes, in terms of sugar accumulation, while maintaining higher acid levels in the fruit. Grapes were machine harvested at night and fruit was in the winery by morning – the preferred method for Riesling. Instead of pressing his Riesling, John uses a spin and drain method, where they spin the press every 10 minutes, to extract the free run juice – this ensures that the berries are treated very softly, whilst maintaining the purity of the juice. The juice then settled for about 5 days. Once the juice was clear, and solids were settled at the bottom of the tank, the wine was racked and the juice was ready for fermentation. The wine was then fermented at around 55 degrees for 10-12 days, until it reached his desired sugar level, at which point the wine was chilled and sulfured, to stop the ferment. The Riesling was then hot and cold stabilized, to remove all haze and crystals, before being filtered and bottled. Time lapse from harvest to bottling is roughly 3 months. Wine was released soon thereafter, in June.